Finding balance in marriage has been a challenging task. Wouldn’t you say, Grace? The requirements Adam had in medical school definitely took over priority in our marriage. So much so that in the first year, I was ready to get a divorce. He neglected me in every aspect and I was immature to realize he was making a commitment that would reap great rewards for both of us and fulfill him.
He would leave home to go to school before I left for work and would return when I was already in bed. Then on the weekends, we would only see each other in the morning before he left to go to the library to study. He would come home late and would be exhausted to do anything–and I mean ANYTHING. During this time I remember getting frustrated with Adam. I think about it now and he was only doing what he thought was best.
Adam wanted to work through my feelings so he suggested we go see a marriage counselor. I was impressed that Adam, a man, would actually suggest marriage counseling. I jumped at the opportunity to save our marriage.
Marriage counseling was enlightening and I had no idea how much of a marriage is a reflection of our parents’ marriages, past relationships, and our individual relationship to parents, in general. We also chose to go to individual counseling and work on our own issues to better improve ourselves in hopes that we would become a stronger couple. I appreciate the mental and emotional work we both did to change the future of our relationship.
Guiding Lesson: Eve, I have to say, I was very amazed when Adam requested to go to counseling. He saw your pain and knew he didn’t have the tools to work through that moment with you. I don’t think either of you expected your first year to start off out of sync with one another.
So there was Adam who set a goal of completing medical school to create a future for you and the family he was hoping to have. He underestimated how intense this would be and never anticipated that his focus of trying to plan for tomorrow would blind him to the needs of the moment – specifically your needs. He was consumed by the amount of work and time that was required of him. And slowly he was beginning to be swallowed up from what was expected of him.
And then there was you. You were so excited to be married. Here you were a newlywed who was hoping to start this new chapter in her life with her husband, but finds out she is left on the dance floor alone. This is not what you bargained for. You wanted your man. You wanted to share all of yourself with him. Soon enough, you learned it was not fun being married to a man whom you only caught glimpses of his shadow. I know this was a lonely time for you. He was not able to see you in the present for his head was buried in the future. And you wanted him NOW!!!
I constantly hear how people prepare a long time for their wedding day and yet not so much for their marriage. Eve, is this common? Isn’t this just one day? Does anybody do any real honest preparation for their marriage? And if they do, are they able to really understand what it means?
Eve, did you and Adam talk about what marriage was going to be like and how to communicate your thoughts, feelings and needs? What about how to keep the marriage healthy and what were your priorities regarding your relationship? And how about the roles and responsibilities you would both have? Do you think this would have helped you in the first year? Was the first year a precursor of what was to come? What would you tell engaged couples to do as they prepare to get married?
I like to invite you to take time to reflect what you learned. Don’t just simply remember the event, this only serves you in telling a story. Instead allow yourself to get in touch with the part of you that was brave enough to express her need and voice her desire. You didn’t forsake what you longed for. It doesn’t serve you to cast aside your yearnings. Continue to give your desires a voice. I will leave you with a phrase from one of my favorite books: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Luke 12:34.